A transmission electron microscope study of Néel skyrmion magnetic textures in multilayer thin film systems with large interfacial chiral interaction

McVitie, S. et al. (2018) A transmission electron microscope study of Néel skyrmion magnetic textures in multilayer thin film systems with large interfacial chiral interaction. Scientific Reports, 8, 5703. (doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-23799-0) (PMID:29632330) (PMCID:PMC5890272)

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Skyrmions in ultrathin ferromagnetic metal (FM)/heavy metal (HM) multilayer systems produced by conventional sputtering methods have recently generated huge interest due to their applications in the field of spintronics. The sandwich structure with two correctly-chosen heavy metal layers provides an additive interfacial exchange interaction which promotes domain wall or skyrmion spin textures that are Néel in character and with a fixed chirality. Lorentz transmission electron microscopy (TEM) is a high resolution method ideally suited to quantitatively image such chiral magnetic configurations. When allied with physical and chemical TEM analysis of both planar and cross-sectional samples, key length scales such as grain size and the chiral variation of the magnetisation variation have been identified and measured. We present data showing the importance of the grain size (mostly < 10 nm) measured from direct imaging and its potential role in describing observed behaviour of isolated skyrmions (diameter < 100 nm). In the latter the region in which the magnetization rotates is measured to be around 30 nm. Such quantitative information on the multiscale magnetisation variations in the system is key to understanding and exploiting the behaviour of skyrmions for future applications in information storage and logic devices.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McGrouther, Dr Damien and McVitie, Professor Stephen and Krajnak, Mr Matus and Fallon, Kayla and McFadzean, Dr Sam and Hughes, Mr Sean
Authors: McVitie, S., Hughes, S., Fallon, K., McFadzean, S., McGrouther, D., Krajnak, M., Legrand, W., Maccariello, D., Collin, S., Reyren, N., Cros, V., Fert, A., Zeissler, K., and Marrows, C.H.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy
Journal Name:Scientific Reports
Publisher:Nature Research
ISSN (Online):2045-2322
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
First Published:First published in Scientific Reports 8:5703
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
685461MAGicSkyRobert StampsEuropean Commission (EC)665095S&E P&A - PHYSICS & ASTRONOMY
683531Consortium for advanced materials based on spin chiralityRobert StampsEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/M024423/1S&E P&A - PHYSICS & ASTRONOMY